Taipei, Friday, March 6, 2015 11:09 (GMT+8)
mostly cloudy
Taipei
16°C
Digitimes Insight: PV module material supply hit by quake
Chihheng Liang, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Thursday 17 March 2011]

Demand in the PV market is continuing to flourish into the first half of 2011, and as shortages of materials continue, the effect of the March 11 earthquake on the polysilicon materials sector is being closely watched. The four Japan-based firms producing polysilicon materials mainly utilize their capacity to supply semiconductors, with the exception of M. Setek. Moreover, Japan only accounts for a small proportion of global capacity for solar-grade polysilicon materials. For all these reasons, the earthquake will have only a limited impact on global supplies of PV materials.

If we look at Japan-based manufacturers' position as global leaders in PV module materials, it is clear that if the regional electricity supply restrictions continue, the existing problem of thinly stretched supplies of module peripheral materials is only likely to be exacerbated.

Japan plays an important role in polysilicon upstream materials. Of the four polysilicon manufacturers located in Japan, only a portion of the capacity of Tokuyama and the AUO-subsidiary M. Setek is concentrated on the PV market, with the remainder focused on polysilicon for semiconductor use.

Tokuyama's polysilicon factory is located in Yamaguchi Prefecture, where the impact of the earthquake has been limited. However, M. Setek's facilities are located in the heart of the disaster area, and have therefore been more seriously affected. Some 3,000 tons of M. Setek's current capacity of 7,000 tons has an actual effect on polysilicon supplies, while the remaining 4,000 tons is currently engaged in trial production. The impact on PV upstream materials supplies will therefore be small.

Digitimes Research estimates that global supplies of polysilicon for PV use will total 160,000-170,000 tons in 2011. Although there is currently a severe shortfall in raw materials supplies for PV polysilicon, the earthquake in Japan is likely to have only a limited effect on this issue.

PV polysilicon wafer capacity located within Japan totaled some 1,360MWp in 2010, accounting for just 5% of global capacity. Besides M. Setek, all the relevant factories are located in the Kansai area, where the impact of the earthquake has been limited. Consequently, only M. Setek's 120MW crystal cutting production capacity has been affected, and this is not likely to have an impact upon global supplies of PV silicon wafers.

Japan has a significant influence on the key components and materials sectors globally, while the PV module materials sector is led by firms hailing from Europe, North America and Japan.

Rapid growth in the PV market during 2010 resulted in insufficient supplies of PV-grade EVA for PV module encapsulation, and a large number of Japan-based manufacturers subsequently switched their conventional EVA capacity over to the production of PV-grade EVA. The main Japan-based manufacturers in this sector are Mitsui Chemicals and Sumitomo Chemical. Mitsui Chemicals has a PV EVA production capacity of 20,000 tons, while Sumitomo Chemical operates an EVA production line in Chiba Prefecture with a capacity of 30,000 tons. Global demand for PV-grade EVA is approximately 170,000 tons, and so shortages of PV-grade EVA will continue as long as new capacity is limited. If regional electricity rationing continues, PV EVA supplies may well become even more thinly stretched.

Japan's Hitachi Cable occupies a leading position in the PV ribbon sector. The firm's main factory sites are located in Ibaraki Prefecture, part of the main disaster area. This will put further pressure on the already limited supply of PV ribbons.

Japan-based polysilicon suppliers

Company

Plant location in Japan

Capacity (ton)

Product line

Tokuyama

Yamaguchi

8,200

Semiconductor, PV

Mitsubishi Materials

Mie

4,300

Semiconductor

Osaka Titanium

Hyogo

1,400

Semiconductor

M. Setek

Fukushima, Miyagi

7,000

PV

Source: Digitimes Research, March 2011

Japan-based solar wafer suppliers

Company

Plant location in Japan

Capacity (MWp)

Space Energy Corp

Nagano

210

Kyocera

Shiga

400

Sumco

Saga

630

M. Setek

Fukushima, Miyagi

120

Source: Digitimes Research, March 2011

Japan-based PV module material suppliers

Material

Company

Plant location

Capacity (ton)

EVA

Mitsui Chemicals

Aichi

20,000

Ibaraki

5,200

Bridgestone

Shizuoka

50,000

Gifu

28,000

Sumitomo Chemical

Chiba

30,000

PV ribbon

Hitachi Cable

Ibaraki

700

Source: Digitimes Research, March 2011

Realtime news
  • MWC: Acer Octon promotes SDN-based business communication solutions

    Mobile + telecom | 10min ago

  • Innolux to recruit 2,000 new employees in 2015

    Displays | Mar 5, 22:18

  • Global Unichip utilizes Cadence analog IP to implement WiGig-enabled SoC on 28nm process

    Bits + chips | Mar 5, 22:17

  • AMD unveils LiquidVR for virtual reality headset products

    IT + CE | Mar 5, 22:15

  • Inspection tool maker HMI looks to 25-35% revenue growth in 2015

    Bits + chips | Mar 5, 22:13

  • AUO recruiting 1,500 new engineers

    Displays | Mar 5, 22:11

  • Lextar Electronics February revenues down on month, up on year

    LED | Mar 5, 22:10

  • Elan to deal out cash dividend of NT$3.60 for 2014

    Bits + chips | Mar 5, 22:08

  • PC shipments in 1Q15 may fall over 20%, say Taiwan makers

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:58

  • KYEC expects 2015 sales to rise

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:56

  • SPIL February sales rise 16.2%

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:55

  • SMIC buying 28nm production equipment

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:55

  • Global Unichip utilizes Cadence analog IP to implement WiGig-enabled SoC on 28nm process

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:54

  • 4G handset penetration in China to reach 40% in 2015

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:53

  • Inspection tool maker HMI looks to 25-35% revenue growth in 2015

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:52

  • Lextar Electronics February revenues down on month, up on year

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:51

  • Unity Opto Technology sees sequential drop in February revenues

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:51

  • Getac February revenues down sequentially

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:50

  • GET to issue up to 150 million new shares for private placement

    Before Going to Press | Mar 5, 21:50

Pause
 | 
View more
2015 global AP market forecast and vendor analysis
DIGITIMES Marketing Services
Greater China touch panel shipment forecast through 2015
  • Wireless broadband developments in Southeast Asia markets

    As of 2013, the 10 ASEAN nations had a total of over 700 million mobile subscriptions, with the CAGR from 2003-2013 reaching 24%. This Digitimes Research Special Report analyzes the various mobile broadband markets in ASEAN and looks at the respective trends in 4G LTE development for those markets.

  • Greater China touch panel shipment forecast through 2015

    This Special Report provides forecasts through 2015 for Greater China touch panel shipments with breakdowns based on technology (glass, film, resistive), application (smartphone, NB and tablet) and by firm.

  • 2014 global tablet demand forecast

    This report analyzes the main players, their strategies and shipments forecasts for 2014, as well as other factors contributing to either growth or decline in various segments within the tablet market, with a particular focus on Apple, Google, Samsung, and Microsoft, along with whitebox vendors.